Mr. Straus to Mr. Bayard.
Constantinople , December 3, 1888. (Received December 24.)
Sir: Referring to your several instructions respecting the petition of the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, praying that application be made to the Sublime Porte for permission to make excavation in the vilayet of Baghdad, I have the honor to report:
That such permission has finally been obtained by me, a translation of which is herein inclosed.
The restricted laws in respect to excavations (reported in my dispatch No. 78 of May 9, 1888) added to the fact that applications made during recent years on behalf of European museums and societies had been and were being refused, made it extremely difficult to obtain permission for the petitioners.
Through the kindness of the grand vizier the matter of this application was laid before the council of ministers, and there it was finally decided to grant the permission to the petitioners to make such excavations upon the conditions stated. As this permission contained terms not provided for by the law, namely, the right to buy certain of the articles excavated with the implied right to export them, the matter had to be referred to His Majesty the Sultan for an iradé.
The matter rested in this position for some weeks.
Rev. John P. Peters, professor in the University of Pennsylvania, and the head of the expedition, was here during all this time, and expressed himself willing to accept the conditions as made by the council of ministers, rather than incur the delay which further efforts would entail.
On the occasion of my audience with the Sultan on the 23d ultimo, I called His Majesty’s attention to the subject, and he replied that the iradé would be granted immediately. So it was; and on the 1st instant the papers were all completed and placed in Mr. Peter’s hands, and he with his associates have left for the site of their proposed work. The grand vizier and the minister of public instruction gave Mr. Peters letters to the vali of Aleppo to facilitate the members of the expedition in their transit.
In this connection I beg to call attention to an error in translation of article 18 of the law on excavations, as forwarded by me and printed in special issue No. 48 of United States Consular Reports. Instead of piastres, it should read Turkish pounds in each place.
I have, etc.,